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Functions of Human Resource Management

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Management
Wordcount: 5426 words Published: 1st Aug 2018

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Contents (Jump to)


Challenges Faced by HRM

Functions of Human Resource Management

Important Recruitment Factors

Methods of Recruitment

Selection Processes

Training and Development of New Employees

Retaining New Employees


Methods of Appraisal

Theories of Employee Motivation

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Herzberg’s Motivation – Hygeine Theory

Critique of Employee Theories Today

New Trends in International HRM

Trends in Human Resource Management




In this assignment the author has done a detailed study of human resource management and studied in detail the functions of human resource management – staffing, maintenance, motivation and training and development. In this the author has gone into details of staffing which involve the function of recruiting and selection. In motivation the author had done a detailed study of employee motivation by doing a study of theories and the author has connected these theories to his employees and has tried to find out various ways in which employees can get motivated. Then the author has done a study of employee maintenance which means to find out various ways to maintain the employees in the organization and find out various ways in which the employees can stay in the organization. The last function is training and development in which the employee has tried to find out ways of training the employees and also how does the training of employees help in the overall development of the organization. This assignment has altogether helped the author to understand well the importance of human resource management. As it says, the author has tried and connected each function of human resource management with the author’s assignment of restaurant development and it has helped the author to understand as to what employees want and what gives them employee satisfaction.


Human Resources is a term with which many organizations describe the combination of traditionally administrative personnel functions with performance management, employee relations and resource planning.

Human resources is an increasingly prominent field that is taking shape throughout industries and workplaces world wide. Recognizing the fact that people are a company’s greatest asset, business leaders across the globe are coming to rely more and more upon an effective management policy that applies specifically to the area of human resources.


The Human Resources Management is the strategic and coherent approach to the management of an organization’s most valued assets – the people working there who individually and collectively contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the business.

The terms “human resources management” and “human resources” have largely replaced the term “personnel management” as a description of the processes involved in managing people in organizations. Human Resource management is evolving rapidly. Human resource management is both an academic theory and a business practice that addresses the theoretical and practical techniques of managing a workforce.

The Human Resources Management (HRM) function includes a variety of activities, and key among them is deciding what staffing needs you have and whether to use independent contractors or hire employees to fill these needs, recruiting and training the best employees, ensuring they are high performers, dealing with performance issues, and ensuring your personnel and management practices conform to various regulations. Activities also include managing your approach to employee benefits and compensation, employee records and personnel policies.

The goal of human resource management is to help an organization to meet strategic goals by attracting, and maintaining employees and also to manage them effectively. The key word here perhaps is “fit”, i.e. a HRM approach seeks to ensure a fit between the management of an organization’s employees, and the overall strategic direction of the company (Miller, 1989).


The Human Resources Management function provides significant support and advice to line management. The attraction, preservation and development of high caliber people are a source of competitive advantage for businesses.

An effective HRM system allows organizations to address human resource issues strategically. This helps the workforce deliver high quality health services, despite internal and external challenges to the organization. A strong human resource management system helps organizations prioritize their organizational and business strategies while effectively managing the changes inherent in health sector reform and decentralization. HRM helps attract and retain competent employees, assists employees and managers in adapting to organizational change, and facilitates the use of technology to determine how and where work is done.

HRM is perhaps one of the most misunderstood, but most important management systems. Employees are an organization’s most important asset, as well as its most expensive: personnel costs often consume 70-80% of an organization’s budget.

With a strong and equitable HRM system, employees:

  • Receive compensation that reflects their level of responsibility.
  • Feel more motivated and understand how their work relates to the organization’s mission and values.
  • Are more satisfied with their jobs.
  • With a strong and equitable HRM system, organizations:
  • Are better equipped to achieve their goals.
  • Increase the level of employee performance.
  • Save costs through the improved efficiency and productivity of workers.
  • improve their ability to manage change.


Workforce diversity

As organizations become more diverse, employers have been adapting their human resource practices to reflect those changes. Many organizations today, such as bank of America, have workforce diversity programs. They tend to hire, promote, and retain minorities, encourage vendor diversity; and provide diversity training for employees. Workforce diversity requires employers to be more sensitive to the differences that each group brings to the work setting. For instance, employers may have to shift their philosophy from treating everyone alike to recognizing individual differences and responding to those differences in ways that will ensure employee retention and greater productivity. They must recognize and deal with the different values, needs, interests and expectations of employees. They must avoid any practice or action that can be interpreted as being sexist, racist, or offensive to any particular group and of course must not illegibly discriminate against any employee. Employers also must find ways to assist employees in managing work life issues.

Contingent workers, issues and HRM

All contingent workers are needed to be treated differently in terms of practices and policies. Human resource managers must make sure that contingent workers do not perceive themselves as second class workers as they are not given various amenities such as health and paid leave benefits what full time employees get. So, in this way contingent workers may tend to view their work as not critically important. Accordingly, they may be less loyal, committed to the organization or motivated at the job. When an organization makes its strategic decision to employ a sizeable portion of its workforce from the contingency works, other HRM issues come to the forefront. These include having these virtual employees available when needed, providing scheduling options that meet their needs and making decisions about whether benefits will be offered to the contingent workforce without sufficient planning. When strategic divisions are made, HRM must be an active partner in the discussions. After all, it is HRM’s responsibility to locate these temporary workers and bring them into organization. Finally, HRM must be prepared to deal with the potential conflicts between core and contingent workers. The core employees may become envious of the higher pay rates and flexibility in scheduling that the contingent workers receive.



“Staffing is the function by which managers build an organization through the recruitment, selection and development of individuals as capable employees.” (Definition by Mc Farland, Management Principles and Practices, New York : Macmillan, 1979)

“The managerial function of staffing is defined as filling positions in the organization structure through identifying workforce requirements, inventorying the people available, recruitment, selection, placement, promotion, appraisal, compensation, and training of needed people.” (Definition by Koontz, in L.M. Prasad, Principles and Practice of Management)

Staffing is the process of acquiring, developing, employing, appraising, remunerating and retaining people so that right type of people are available at right positions and at right time in the organization.

Staffing function is related to employment of personnel of all types – managerial as well as operative in the organization. It includes a variety of activities through which an organization tries to ensure that various positions remain filled by the most suitable personnel. This function is performed by every manager in the organization like other managerial functions viz. planning, organizing, directing and controlling though they receive considerable staff assistance in performing staffing function.


“Recruitment is the process of finding and attracting capable applicants for employment. The process begins when new recruits are sought and ends when their applications are submitted. The result is a pool of applicants from which new employees are selected.” (Definition by Werther and Davis, in Human Resources and Personnel Management, New York, McGraw Hill,1996)

“Recruitment is a form of competition. Just as corporations compete to develop, manufacture and market the best product or service, so they must be compete to identify, attract and hire the most qualified people. Recruitment is a business, and it is a big business.” (Definition by J.S. Lord, in External and Internal Recruitment, Wayne F. Casico, 1989)

Recruitment is process of creating a common platform between the employers and the prospective employees, so that both of them evaluate each other and take a decision which is mutually beneficial.

The three important recruitment factors are:

Job Specification

It is a written statement of qualifications, traits, physical and mental characteristics that an individual must possess to perform the job duties and discharge responsibilities effectively.

The first step in the program of job specification is to prepare a list of all jobs in the company and where they are located. The second step is to secure and write up information about each of the jobs in a company. Usually, this information includes:

  1. Physical specifications
  2. Mental specifications,
  3. Emotional and social specifications
  4. Behavioral specifications

Physical Specifications: Physical specifications include the physical qualifications or physical capacities which vary from job to job. Physical qualifications or capacities include physical features like height, weight, chest, vision, hearing, ability, to lift weight, ability to carry weight, health, age, capacity to use or operate machines, tools, equipment etc.

Mental Specifications: Mental specifications include ability to perform, arithmetical calculation, to interpret data, information blue prints, to read electrical circuits, ability to plan, reading abilities, scientific abilities, judgment, ability to concentrate, ability to handle variable factors, general intelligence, memory etc.

Emotional and Social Specifications: Emotional and social specifications are more important for the post of managers, supervisors, foremen etc. They include emotional stability, flexibility, and social adaptability in human relationship, personal appearance including dress, posture, poise, features and voice required by the job.

Behavioral Specifications: Behavioral specifications play an important role in selecting the candidates for higher level jobs in the organizational hierarchy. This specification seeks to describe the acts of managers rather than the traits that cause the acts. These specifications include judgments, research, creativity, teaching, ability, maturity (capable of accepting responsibility) trial of conciliation, self-reliance (self-starter sticks to own decisions), dominance (giving orders in a personal way) etc.

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Employee Specifications

Job specifications information must be converted into employee specification information in order to know what kind of a person is needed to fill a job. Employee specification is like a brand name which spells that the candidate with a particular employee specification generally possesses the qualities specified under job specification, for example, the employee with the educational qualification of MBA generally knows the concepts, managerial skills like decision-making, inter-personal relationships, leadership etc. Employee specification is useful to find out the suitability of particular class of candidates to a particular job. Thus, employee specification is useful to find out prospective employees (target group) whereas job specification is useful to select the right candidate for a job.

Job Description

A Job Description is a list of the general tasks, or functions, and responsibilities of a position. Typically, it also includes to whom the position reports, specifications such as the qualifications needed by the person in the job, salary range for the position, etc. A job description is usually developed by conducting a job analysis, which includes examining the tasks and sequences of tasks necessary to perform the job. The analysis looks at the areas of knowledge and skills needed by the job. Note that a role is the set of responsibilities or expected results associated with a job. A job usually includes several roles.

Job Analysis

Job Analysis is a process to identify and determine in detail the particular job duties and requirements and the relative importance of these duties for a given job. Job Analysis is a process where judgements are made about data collected on a job.

An important concept of Job Analysis is that the analysis is conducted of the Job, not the person. While Job Analysis data may be collected from incumbents through interviews or questionnaires, the product of the analysis is a description or specifications of the job, not a description of the person.

Methods of Recruitment

The following are the different recruitment methods:

  • Internal Search

Many large organizations develop their own employees for high level jobs. This is done by posting new job openings and allowing employees to bid for the position. There is nothing inherently better about either internal or external recruitment. However, there are some advantages to internal recruitment. First, internal recruitment may lead to increased morale for employees; the organization is perceived to reward good performance or loyalty. Often, one promotion leads to another vacant position and this chain effect contributes further to increased morale.

Another advantage to the firm is that Human Resource data is immediately available for any employee recruited internally. Further, the employee’s work habits are known and previous performance appraisals are on record.

Similarly, an internal recruit will be familiar with the firm. This employee will be familiar with the firm’s products, clients, organizational policies, and corporate culture. Therefore, the firm might be able to save money insofar as orientation sessions for such an employee may not be necessary.

  • Advertisements

Advertisements are one of the oldest and the most popular method of recruitment. This form of recruitment is mainly used for high level jobs like maybe for a vice presidency. Blue collar jobs are hardly advertised and even if they are the company just mentions a post box number where the applicant can communicate. Much details and job specification are not mentioned.

  • Employee Referrals and Recommendations

The idea behind employee recommendations as a source of potential applicants is that the present employees may have specific knowledge of the individuals who may be their friends, relatives or acquaintances. If the present employees are reasonably satisfied with their jobs, they communicate these feelings to many persons in their communities.

  • Employment Agencies

Many organizations get the information about the prospective candidates through employment agencies. In our country, there are three types of employment agencies : public employment agency, private employment agency and management consulting firms.

  • Campus Placements

Many organizations conduct preliminary search of prospective employees by conducting interviews at the campuses of various institutes, universities and colleges. The organization hold interviews on the campus on predetermined date and candidates found suitable are called for further interviews at specified places.

  • Professional Organizations

Many professional organizations like labor unions operate placement services for the benefit of their members. These include varied occupations such as industrial engineer, psychologist and seafarer. These organizations also publish job vacancy rosters and distribute it to their members.

  • Unsolicited Applicants

The concept of Unsolicited Applicants or Gate Hiring is to select people who approach on their own for employment in the organization. This happens mostly in the case of unskilled and semi-skilled workers.

  • Cyberspace Recruiting

It provides access to a worldwide databank of jobs, on line application and information resources through the Internet. One of the benefits of Cyberspace Recruiting is the provision for swift feedback and follow up.

  • Recruitment Alternatives

This includes getting the work done through other methods such as Hiring independent contractors, outsourcing a particular department etc. For example, the banking industry will very soon outsource the clearing and cash operations of the bank.


Selection, as the name implies, picking for hire a subset of workers from the total set of workers who have applied for the job. Selections are done by comparing the requirements of a job with applicant’s qualifications. An attempt is made to find a round peg for a round hole. In doing so naturally many applicants are rejected. This makes Selection a negative function.

The Selection process consists of 8 steps:

  1. Initial Screening
  2. Completion of Application Form
  3. Employment Tests
  4. Comprehensive Interview
  5. Background Investigation
  6. Conditional Job Offer
  7. Physical Examination
  8. Permanent Job Offer

Thus, Selection process is very important as it helps in eliminating poor performers. This programme also helps in identifying people with a hobo syndrome i.e., tendency to frequently change jobs. It is a proven fact that providing potential candidates with accurate and complete information about organizational opportunities and constraints, and the job itself prevents high employee turnover.


“The act of increasing the skills of an employee for doing a particular job.” (Definition by Edwin B. Flippo, Personnel Management, McGraw Hill, 1984)

Training is a process of learning a sequence of programmed behaviour. This behaviour, being programmed, is relevant to a specific phenomenon, that is a job. The process of training begins with Socialization and ends with Organization development. Three factors which necessitate continuous training in an organization are technological advances, organizational complexity and human relations.


It is the means through which an employee understands the culture of an organization. This culture includes longstanding and often unwritten rules and regulations which govern the organization and its employees. There are three stages in the socializing process :

Pre arrival stage – During this stage a person arrives in the organization with a set of values and expectations.

Encounter stage – During this stage an employee considers the difference between his expectations and the reality.

Metamorphosis stage – During this stage the employee discovers the changes and adapt to them.


Orientation includes the activities involved in introducing a new employee to the organization and his work unit. It is not unusual to confuse Orientation with Socializing. This programme familiarises an employee with the organization’s objectives, history, philosophy, procedures and rules. This helps reduce the initial anxiety faced by new employees.

Employee Training

Training provides a particular skill set required to do a job. The focus of employee training is on the current job requirements.

Employee Development

Employee development focuses on unveiling the hidden potential in the employees for future manpower requirements which might need additional competencies.

Career Development

Career development programs are designed to assist employees in advancing their work lives. The main focus of career development is to provide the necessary information and assessment in helping employees realize their career goals. It is the responsibility of an individual not an organization.

Organization development

Organization development deals with facilitating changes in the organization. The focus of organization development is to change the attitudes and values of employees according to the organizational strategic directions.

Methods of Training

  • Job Rotation

Job Rotation involves movement of a manager from one job to another job, from one plan to another plan on a planned basis. The movement is not meant for transfer but, is meant for learning interdependence and broadening the perspective. This helps to develop more co-operative approach to different functions in the organization.

  • Assistant to positions

Employees which have potential are made to work under a seasoned and successful manager, often in different areas of the organization. Under the watchful eye of a supportive coach, individuals perform many special duties and serve some special duties and serve some special duties too. All this gives a wide experience to employees and they come across a wide variety of management activities and they are groomed too for assuming the duties of the next level.

  • Committee Assignment

This provides an opportunity for the employee to have a say in managerial decision making and to investigate organizational problems. It also helps in increases the employee’s exposure to other members of the organization, broadens his understanding and make recommendations.

  • Lecture Courses and Seminars

This is one of the oldest method of training the employees. Lecture courses and seminars offer an opportunity for managers to acquire knowledge and develop their conceptual and analytical abilities.

  • Simulations

Simulations were first introduced at the Harvard Graduate School of Business. Simulation exercises include case study, decision games and role plays. Though it is not possible to simulate the real life exactly in the learning situations, simulated training provides participants an opportunity to learn which may be useful in their actual work situations.

  • Outdoor Training

The main motive behind Outdoor Training is to teach the employees the importance of team work. Activities might include trekking, games or surviving in the jungle. The purpose is to condition the employees in various stress related situations.

  • Learning Logs

Learning logs is a mechanism which encourages a disciplined approach to learning. It can be focused only on one activity and is usually designed to encourage the writer to explain what happened, how they have reflected on this, what conclusions have they made and what future learning actions they wish to make.

  • Self Development Groups

A group of individuals involved in a series of meetings where they discuss their personal development, organizational issues, or individual work problems. Groups may begin operating with a leader who is a process expert and who can act as a facilitator.


Maintenance is the last phase which puts all the activities into place which further help retain productive employees. Human resource management must ensure a safety and healthy working conditions, caring for employees well being has a major effect on the commitment. It must also be realized that any problem an employee faces in his personal life will ultimately be brought to the workplace. This calls for employee assistance programs, which help individuals deal with stressful life situations. It calls for employee assistance programs such as programs that help individuals deal with stressful life situations. It is concerned with the maintenance of employee’s commitment and loyalty to the organization. This includes:

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Employee Health

Organizations are obliged to provide employees with a safe and healthful environment. Health is a general statement of physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Safety is protection of a person’s physical health. The main purpose of health and safety policies is the safe interaction of people and the work environment. Poor working conditions may affect the employee performance badly. Employees may find it difficult to work. It would be too taxing for them to work for longer hours. Accidents and injuries may multiply causing enormous loss to the company. Absence and turnover ratios may grow. A company with a poor safety record may find it difficult to hire and retain skilled labor force. Each and every company need industrial health so that physical, social and mental wellbeing of workers can be promoted and maintained, the productivity and the quality of work can be improved, accidents, injuries, absenteeism, labor turnover can be reduced and workers can be protected against any health hazard arising out of work and conditions.

Employee Safety

The main purpose of employee safety programs in an organization is to prevent work related injuries and accidents. There should not be any physical hazards such as collision and obstruction, equipment, fire, hazards from falling objects.

Employee welfare

Employee or labor welfare is comprehensive term including various services, benefits and facilities offered to employees by the employer. The welfare amenities are extended in addition to normal wages and the other economic rewards available to employees as per the legal provisions. The working environment in a factory adversely affects the health of employees because of excessive heat or cold, noise, downs, fumes, dust, and lack of sanitation. Such oppressive conditions create health problems for workers.


The rules of communication are being rewritten as comprehensive, integrated information networks remove constraints on its uses. Employees should be able to communicate with anyone in the organization, no matter what the hierarchy says. The open communication system breaks down historical organizational pattern flows. They also refine how meetings, negotiations, supervision and water cooler talk are conducted. Human resource management must operate the effective communication programs in the organization and such programs help employees know what is occurring around them and vent frustrations. Employee relations programs should ensure that employees are kept well informed through the company’s intranet, bulletin boards, town hall meetings, or teleconferencing and foster an environment where employee voices are heard.

Employee relations

Employee relations have several major responsibilities and it is divided into employee relations and labor relations. Labor relations involve dealing with the labor unions. In a unionized organization, a specific grievance procedure might be detailed in the labor management contract, and might involve the union, management and the allegedly wronged employee. In an nonunion organization, employee relations specialists perform many tasks. One of their key responsibilities is to ensure that open communication permeates the organization. This entails construction of such an environment where employees talk directly to the supervisors and settle any differences that arise. ER specialists are also intermediaries in helping employees understand rules, policies, procedures etc.


“Performance Appraisal is the systematic evaluation of the individual with regard to his or her performance on the job and his potential for development.” (Definition by dale S. Beach, Personnel: The Management of People at Work, New York: Macmillan, 1980)

“It (performance appraisal) is the process of evaluating the performance and qualifications of the employees in terms of the requirements of the job for which he is employed, for the purposes of administration including placement, selection for promotion, providing financial rewards and other actions which required differential treatment among the members of a group as distinguished from actions affecting all members equally.” (Definition by C. Heyel, The Encyclopedia of Management, New York: Reinhold Publishing, 1973)

Performance appraisal is the evaluation of quality, worth or merit. It is also described a s merit rating in which one individual is ranked as better or worse in comparison to others.

Methods of Appraisal

Absolute Standards

In this method the employees are evaluated according to a standard. Here, each employee is graded independently without any


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